Creative burnout is something that can affect you when you least expect it. It can come in many forms, but I’ve found that it generally manifests itself as something akin to metaphorically ‘hitting a brick wall’ in terms of creative process, and usually means a loss of ideas or new concepts for the project at hand.
According to Websters.com, an idea is defined as, “any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.” Ideas are gems – they take us to new places, bring our imagination to new heights, and help us develop new and exciting ways to see the world. When one suffers from creative burnout, it’s hard to even come up with new ideas, and consequently we are left with a feeling of frustration.
Here are 5 ways to manage and avoid creative burnout:
1. Healthy Balance of Work and Personal Life
Having a healthy balance between your work and personal life is key. Everyone who knows me wonders how I can manage so many tasks at once, and I admit, sometimes it certainly can be challenging! I have found that the key to success in this area is to ensure you give yourself time to do things non-work related. I completely understand how easy it is to get involved in a project and sit there for hours (before realizing how much time has passed), but having gentle reminders to get you up and away from your desk is a great way to break up your day.
2. Exercise and Physical Activity
No matter what your job, sitting at a desk can be draining and certainly mentally exhausting. Taking time out of your day to engage in some sort of physical activity will help you to get your heart rate up and keep your body in a well maintained and conditioned state. Going to the gym is great, but when you can’t make the time, simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk, stretching, and even deep breathing exercises can all aid in releasing stress from your body. Pairing these routines with some of your favourite music is a great way to motivate yourself to stay fit and healthy.
3. Expand your Circle of Creative Inspiration
I have found that creative inspiration can come in many different ways and in various forms. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with a new idea or design, so drawing inspiration from another source can be the key to turn on that lightbulb in your head and consequently allow you to have your ‘ah ha’ moment.
There are so many ways to be inspired – looking through photographs, collecting reference samples, reading children’s books, taking a walk on the beach… these are just a few of the countless ways you can be inspired. Anything that fills you with joy and gives you clarity of mind is a wonderful tool to open you up for inspiration.
4. Organize and Harmonize Your Space
Keeping your workspace organized, clean, and free of clutter is an important part of keeping your mind clutter free, too. Organizing, recycling and packing away any items that you don’t readily need on a daily basis ensures that your space stays open and ready for your next project. Harmonizing your space by using appropriate colours to attain the desired energy flow in the room, can put you in the right mood to tackle the tasks at hand. For more information on how colour energy affects us, visit the Colour Energy website.
Using Feng Shui to organize your office is also an effective way of allowing your energy (or ‘chi’) to flow effortlessly. A quick article on the subject can be found on Care2’s website called, 13 Do’s and Taboos for the Feng Shui Office.
5. Break out of your Routine… and Learn Something New!
It’s so easy for us to get stuck in a routine as we go through our daily lives, until one day we find that we’re just downright bored. Breaking out of our routine and learning something new is an excellent way of shaking things up, and allowing ourselves the freedom to expand our horizons and acquire new skills. Taking a class in cooking or cake decorating, painting or drumming, even joining an archery or bowling club – are just a few examples of ways you can open up your mind to different ways of thinking. When we don’t challenge our minds, we’re left feeling dull and fuzzy, worn and slow. Our mind is a muscle, and it must be exercised. Taking part in new activities not only strengthens that muscle, but it also engages you, even gives you an opportunity to meet new people and expand your social network.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful – please feel free to comment with ways you have found to beat the creative burnout and stay fresh and focused.